If “The Wizard of Oz” weren’t a beloved family film based on a series of best-selling children’s books, it would be pretty damned weird. It still is, as a matter of fact. Think about it: You’ve got a teenage girl who’s whisked via tornado away from her dull (and sepia-toned) Kansas home into a magical (and colorful) world. Her house lands on a witch, she learns the witch’s sister wants her dead, and only after teaming up with a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion can she find the wizard who can take he back to Kansas. Or maybe, just maybe, it was all a dream…
This week’s podcast covers the Four Marx Brothers’ wackiest film: Duck Soup (1933). In Duck Soup, a wealthy woman refuses to give a country the financial aid it needs unless she gets to pick its next president. So, you know, exactly like politics today. The wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) insists that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) be appointed leader of Freedonia. Firefly is appointed and promptly leads the country into war.
Can a monster movie that relies on the same special effects used to create the Abominable Snowman in 1964’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer be suspenseful and entertaining? Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes! Unless you ask Billy Kulpa. Today we review the original King Kong (1933). The effects may seem cheap by today’s standards, but nothing like King Kong existed back in 1933. The classic picture also manages to do something the 2005 Peter Jackson version could never do: end in less than three hours.
The debut episode of Out of Theaters covers a movie that’s synonymous with classic films. Gone with the Wind is not only the highest-grossing, most enduring movie of all time — it’s perhaps the biggest pop culture anything of all time. Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind (1939) depicts Civil War South as an orange-skied utopia that’s ruined by Yankee invaders and carpetbaggers. It’s a cinematic masterpiece that we can still watch 76 years later and say, “wow, that’s incredibly racist.”